Post-Courier: Border patrol by soldiers or navy must be taken seriously

The Indonesian fishing boats reportedly seized by the PNG Defence Force
Two Indonesian fishing boats reportedly seized by the PNG Defence Force during the shooting incident last week. Image: Paul Barker

EDITORIAL: The PNG Post-Courier

The alleged shooting of Indonesian fishermen by Papua New Guinean soldiers last week where one Indonesian was reportedly killed is a very serious matter and must be attended to immediately.

Prime Minister James Marape has given word that an investigation will be carried out to ascertain the facts behind the shooting.

Mr Marape said: “PNG will be conducting a full investigation into this matter and will inform the nation and Indonesia government too as to what happened.”

PNG Post-Courier

We hope the investigation that the PNG Defence Force Commander starts should include him urging his senior officers to quickly identify who among the soldiers had to use such extreme force in such a situation and the correct penalty should be placed on all who were responsible.

A few months back, a report came from the PNG-Solomons border where members of Solomon Islands police force forced a PNG fisherman to jump off his canoe and swim to shore.

Such bad tactics of border police officers or soldiers must be stopped by all governments, the PNG government or its neighbours.

The police and Defence Force hierarchies must monitor those officers who are patrolling the borders, whether at the western end or eastern end, are at all times aware of the rules and regulations that they should follow in policing the waters.

At no time, and under no circumstance, should an officer point a gun at a civilian, a fisherman or border crosser from either side of the border as part of conducting a routine check.

There is no need to threaten anyone with a gun, much less discharge a firearm.

Those fishermen or travellers are not terrorists or robbers.

They are not pirates, they are working people who may have got to the wrong side of the border.

The top hierarchies of the forces engaged in border patrols must also ensure that the soldiers or police officers engaged in such duties as policing a border must be the most intelligent of the lot, not some new graduate or someone with a bad history.

In these pandemic days where stress levels are high and opportunities for simple people to make ends meet are scarce, extreme care too much be taken by military or police personnel when conducting a check on a vessel.

Refrain from always using a firearm to make a point. Refrain from unnecessarily discharging a firearm.

Use your head and heart to do your job and do it properly.

We all hope that the investigation into the matter regarding the PNG soldiers and Indonesian fishermen is commenced quickly to hold people responsible with appropriate penalties to be effected forthwith.

The PNG Post-Courier editorial published today, 29 August 2022. Republished with permission.

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